(Sorry this was due to be posted in May but Blogspot’s problems intervened)
No one should be surprised by the decision to drop Cheryl Cole as judge on the US version of The X Factor.
The Geordie songbird may have been taken to the hearts of the fans of the British version of the programme, but reports suggest that not only is she not glamorous enough for Fox TV, she is also unintelligible to American audiences.
If the Americans needed sub-titles for the film The Full Monty, which they did even though that featured the relatively mild accent of South Yorkshire, then they would have had no chance with the Tyneside version of English.
By a strange co-incidence the news broke almost exactly a year after the tragic killing spree in the Whitehaven district of West Cumbria by crazed gunman Derrick Bird.
I was employed by the National Broadcasting Corporation to mind and support their TV crew when they came up to the port on the day after the deaths.
They charged me with finding eye-witnesses willing to be interviewed.
Imagine how pleased I was when I found a taxi driver who not only knew Bird well, but also saw some of the shootings, and was willing to be interviewed on camera.
I rushed back to the reporter and crew, dragged them to the rank where he was sitting in his cab and cameras rolled as he gave a blow by blow account.
After about five minutes the Americans called wrap and wandered off. I proudly asked if they were pleased only to be told that no, the interview was useless.
“Why?” I asked in disbelief. “Because no one in America would have understood a word he said,” I was told, “and we don’t do sub-titles on news reports.”
If the West Cumbrian burr was beyond our transatlantic cousins, then Cheryl would have nay chance.